PaisleyPerspective Turns 6!


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On January 1, 2017 PaisleyPerspective celebrated 6 years! With a new year comes evaluation of the past and what is to come.  Personally 2016 has been an amazing year for me.  There are many milestones that occurred in the year.  The primary event for me was being invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama.  This definitely stands out as one of the major moments of the year.

However, on a public level there have been many events that have occurred that are not so great.  Multiple celebrity deaths of iconic individuals one being Prince Rogers Nelson my favorite musician.  Conflicts in various regions of the world and the election of Donald Trump at the 45th U.S. President.  The President-Elect has stirred up discontent among other nations even prior to being inaugurated.  I don’t have to go on here with why Trump is not fit, I have written blog posts that outline my reasons for this comment.

In a new year we all want to miraculously become a better person.  We want to lose weight, eat better, be nicer, save more or be more organized.  The reality is we are the same person we were at 11:59pm before the clock struck midnight in a new year.  So the same person I was in 2016 is the same person I am in 2017.  A new year doesn’t dictate whether I become a better person this is something that can happen anytime of the year.

Finally, on the last day of 2016 I attended the funeral of a fellow poet.  His name was Tavis P. Brunson.  It is difficult to speak of him in the past tense but that is what we do when someone has died.  I hesitate to say funeral because it actually was a true celebration of life.  A beautiful gathering in a fairly large church packed with poets from all over South Carolina and North Carolina.  With those present wearing Batman t-shirts, Dallas Cowboy jerseys and caps, or poet inspired gear,  it was a blessing to see that Tavis’s family understood he was a poet specifically one of the best slam poets not only in the United States but internationally.  And that his other passions were incorporated in the celebration.  The continuous theme that was said by nine poets on program and during his eulogy was that he lived his purpose.

With regard to PaisleyPerspective, my primary goal is the same as it always is and that is to live my purpose; and sometimes to share it here.  PaisleyPerspective wishes you an abundantly blessed New Year where you are your best self.

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I Am A Black Woman…I Matter


I use to always think if I needed help I would run to the police department.  For example if I were being followed by an unknown vehicle.  I direct people begging for money to the local police department.  However, I don’t know anymore…and that saddens me.  Repeated incidents of police officers shooting unarmed men or shooting those posing no threat have worn me down.  Add to this the officers involved in the deaths of Freddie Gray and Eric Gardner incidents that get no jail time and it becomes a heavy weight of despair.   I know all police officers are not bad or intolerant but I do know many do exist. I’m forever an optimist but also very much a realist.  And the unvieling of the injustice  via digital media and the continual unjustified shooting of black men has worn away a significant amount of my optimism.

You want to know why there is a black lives matter movement? It’s for incidents like recently in Florida when a health care worker searching for an autistic patient does what he is told is still shot. A black man doing his job was shot by a cop even when he was complying. It’s because the cop actually said he didn’t know why he shot the man & admitted to having aimed for the autistic man playing with a toy truck. This was similar to another incident where an adult male was mentally incapable of understanding police orders and was tasered.

My husbands best friend has a 20-something year old autistic son. This could have easily been him in the mentioned situatuion. I’m pushing on the political activism end. I am using my words via blogs, letters, and with my local Democratic party but we all have to suit up and make it known black lives matter. Yes, I know all lives matter but right now the target is on the bodies of black men, even when they do as told.  Let’s make it known via the beloved matter called currency; so via your wallets and the daily choices we make. Eye for eye leads to more blood shed, I truly believe violence is not the answer nor is anarchy. We are better than that…our blood line comes from African kings & queens so let us act as such.

What can you do? Contact local law enforcement and work with them in your communities. Contact local elected officials let them know your concerns. Be present in your neighborhoods and call out those elements who may not be uplifting but criminal in nature.  Yes, I know we must also have opportunities to provide criminal elements another avenue.  However, we only uplift with identifying all components that deteriorate our communities and must be strong in that acknowledgement.  All of these things are needed in combination to make it know we are not merely existing but human beings and citizens worthy and deserving of full rights…each and every day.  Whether we are in a poor neighborhood or a high end neighborhood..driving a fancy car we deserve respect.

We’ve struggled since the first slave ship landed in Jamestown. But we must take ownership of our identity and be present in all human capacities. Don’t give up but be present where it matters. Let your voice be heard in every capacity…and more than ever via the ballot box. There is much we can do and it starts locally with us. Enough is enough; my husband is a black man and he matters; my brother in laws are black men and they matter; my father in law is a black man and he matters, my sister  in law is a black woman and she matter, my niece is a black child and she matters,  I am a black woman and I matter!

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Amtrak #91 Silver Star Breakdowns


On the evening of Friday, July 8, 2016 at approximately 8:15pm on train #91 – Silver Star just outside of Rocky Mount, NC the engineer ran over tree debris resulting in damage to a main reservoir that effected the braking system. Passengers were advised of the situation and possible resolutions. It is now 3:52am as I write this and the train along with passengers are still outside of Rocky Mount, NC.  In addition, this is the return trip of a 50th birthday celebration that has gone well…until this point.

Power was shut down at various points and brought back up. However the last car where my husband and I sat the air conditioning appeared to malfunction resulting into an extremely warm, actually hot environment. During this same time approximately 1:15am a few things happened. The conductors who were on shift had to get off the clock, which is understandable but this left no communication. Until this point the male conductor provided details of all situations as he knew it.

Still from 1:15am until now the last car has become more and more unbearable. The conductor who came on duty at approximately 2:00am was unaware of the situation. I spoke to an Amtrak employee named David in the club car and was advised the conductor was outside trying to get us rolling. When I asked, “why weren’t people relocated to available seats in cooler cars?” He advised, “he’d walked through our car but everyone was sleeping.” I am sure this was true however I consider this to be an emergency situation needing actions outside standard operating procedure.

I was told that my husband and I could relocate to the car in front of us. This is where we currently sit. Accidents and tree branches fall. Also no one expects a car that had very good cooling to stop working. However, it did and someone should have had the common sense to redistribute passengers to cooler cars until the problem is fixed. We are now back rolling again or I should say flying but note that at 4:25am and upon checking the last car it is still significantly hot compared to comfortable and cool conditions in other cars.

Finally, I will be calling and contacting Amtrak in addition to writing this blog post. I’ve written this with an objective eye rather than significant opinion. I will be seeking some form of compensation for the inconvenience of the delay, original arrival time was 1:38am but now estimated at 9:38am, which is an 8-hour delay. A delay that just may have been caused by a train engineer going too fast for conditions. I hope a lesson is learned that many times Mother Nature wins.  In addition to lessons for the train engineer, I hope the conductor staff will understand that good customer service requires you to step outside of what is expected in extreme and unexpected conditions.

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From The Editor – Issue 3 Volume 5


from_the_editor_2February is the month of love in addition it is the month when African American (Black) history is celebrated in the United States.  Red, white, and pink teddy bears are lining store shelves along with heart shaped boxes of chocolates.  Card aisles are over flowing with valentine cards and boxes of cards for children to give to class mates.  Teacher’s curriculums include special lessons for teaching Black History.

In the February 1st posts on PaisleyPerspective the subjects include the 2016 Black History theme, which is “Hallowed Grounds”.  There are those who question the purpose of Black History month and whether it is relevant.  A country primarily built with the labor of enslaved Africans is still healing.  Contributions of the descendants of those stole to work in this nation are great.  The sites of much history needs to be remembered.  The history of the United States is very much intertwined with Black History; February helps to highlight a history that might otherwise be lost.

Growing up in a two parent household, I had an opportunity to see how a couple works through their obstacles.  No love is perfect but there are characteristics of a positive loving relationship.  I share my insights about what makes for a solid relationship in “Good Love”.  Shockingly, I learned last year of a friend who dealt with over 40 years of domestic abuse.  I will share her story in an interview “Tainted Love”.  Finally leading into the interview is a poem, “Calling” related to the subject of domestic violence.

I am always looking for other voices than my own to share on PaisleyPerspective.  Check out the Submissions Guideline page for how to add your voice.

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From The Editor – Issue 2 Volume 5


from_the_editor_2Those who have followed PaisleyPerspective blog since the very first post, I say thank you.  This particular post should look familiar.  It is giving a quick summary of the other posts in this group.

I am excited to bring you knew content in the a familiar format.  There are three post under Issue 2 Volume 5.  First I look at the illogical process of setting new year resolutions.  Why do we do it to ourselves every year?

There is a poem entitled Forced Entry, which leads into the post entitled Falling Star.  I don’t want to give to much away but these posts surround recent allegations about a comedic star.

Let me know what you think of the return of the new format.  You can do so via email or via comments below.

Enjoy!

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My 2015 Year in Review


2015 Year in ReviewEveryone’s year in review is a personal experience.  I am leaving the biggest news stories ‘year in review’ for the media outlets.  My year involved me growing and branching out as a poet.  I didn’t complete all task I set before me regarding an activist memoir but I did well with my poetry.

My year included getting published in the March/April edition of Jasper Magazine; acceptance for publication in the inaugural Watering Hole Anthology; and being published in the Poets on the Comet a transit bus campaign in Columbia, SC.  It was not solely my desire to be published but to grow and stretch my poet wings.  I learned about and read more poets, I don’t have an exact number, however, I read and wrote more poetry on a consistent basis than in the past.

In addition to poetry, politics is my other passion.  I unexpectedly became part of stock footage for media outlets when discussing Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign in South Carolina.  In May of this year, I along with fellow South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council board members, I was on stage with former Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Hearing her message made me decide to support her in the 2016 Presidential race.

This year I wrote more political driven content for Daily Kos as well as PaisleyPerspective.  I was more active in spreading the message about the importance of voting and civic responsibility after voting. However, seeing the legislative process and discussion regarding removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds was one of the most significant historical events of this year for me.  The flag removal stemmed from tragedy but that tragedy showed how people regardless of background can come together for a common cause of good.

A natural weather event in October also demonstrated how people of all backgrounds can come together to help each other.  What was called a 1,000 year flood significantly impacted many areas of South Carolina; political leaders as well as residents came together during and after to help each other.  My witness of this resulted in me sending an op-ed that was published in the statewide newspaper The State.

Outside of poetry and politics, I created new bonds with various family and friends.  On a personal level I felt the most healed regarding my mom’s death.  I definitely still miss her presence but my memories are filled with joy; and I strive to honor her legacy well.  I am also blessed with other personal joy and sum up 2015 as a positive year.

Just as last year I ended this year with a writer’s retreat given by The Watering Hole poetry community.  A gathering of poets of color learning and sharing helped to renew and feed my spirit.  The retreat for me is not merely about writing but about community.

There are so many images that I captured this year.  But the top images are those surrounding the Charleston 9 massacre and subsequent Confederate battle flag removal.  There are other images such as me on Pi Day, arriving to the 2015 Watering Hole Writers Retreat.  Also, stepping up my cooking game this year a snapshot of my favorite ingredients.

Finally, I look forward to 2016 and what it has to bring.  I am approaching a milestone birthday and have decided to set just one resolution, which I choose not to share.  Life is complicated and it need not be filled with unreachable goals. My life is good and I know that I am living it to my best; that in itself is a blessing.

PaisleyPerspective wishes you and yours a Happy New Year filled with the best possible you!

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My Kind of Town


C is for Corruption…C is for Chaos…C is for Chicago! I am a Chicago native born, raised, and educated including undergrad and post-grad studies.  I still love my hometown.  Those who have moved away usually have done so because of reasons that are not specific to the city.  Well unless you count tons and tons of snow and severe cold.

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We’ve moved because of opportunities elsewhere.  Or possibly because of family.  And yes because of the winters.  We watch the news our hearts ache when shootings occur and innocent children die.  And with the most recent incident that has been brought to light regarding a teenager shot 17 times by a Chicago police officer, we sigh a deep sigh of hurt.

My hometown has a history that was built in the 1920’s during the heydays of prohibition.  Bootlegging and the speakeasies were big in Chicago as well as other major cities.  With bootlegging came the onset of organized crime or as many know it the mob.  Still today people associate Chicago with Al Capone.

The other name that is associated with Chicago is Daley.  Richard J. Daley served as mayor of the Chicago from 1955 until his death in 1976.  His son Richard M. Daley served 1989 until choosing not to run in 2011.  The Daley dynasty was massive and even called the Machine because that is how it ran like a precision machine.  But there was something unique with all the power within the Machine, it remembered that the neighborhoods are what made the city.

Currently Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who was elected in first elected 2011 and during the lowest voter turnout reelected in 2015.  Emmanuel’s focus as I see it has been on bringing big industry to Chicago.  Under his leadership there were approximately 50 school closings in 2014 as well as many other decisions that did not focus on the core of what is Chicago.

It saddens me to see a leader who is from Chicago not understand the importance of the people.  Not understand the need for after-school programs and activities for youth.  Yes, there are other underlying problems but when you build strong neighborhoods, you build a stronger city.  Focusing on big industry and the downtown area is not what will mend a torn city.

In another few years the opportunity to vote Emmanuel out will come again.  However, until then Chicago citizens need to let their voices be heard loud and clear.  Holding all elected officials accountable is needed.  From neighborhood Alderman/woman to city and county elected officials.  Chicagoans are tough and I know they will survive this most recent wave of corrupt leadership but it is time for all to step up and be aware.

A fellow Chicago native, friend, and former high school classmate eloquently wrote her opinion of what being aware looks like.  What are things that should be done and can be done to elect better officials.  It is posted as an Op-Ed in a separate post give it a read and leave a comment.  Feel free to submit your opinion as well.

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